The lights are on
When I was a young lad, I used to play a little game called The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past with my father and brother. I'd say this was my first video gaming experience, and what sparked my love for the interactive media we know so well today. I would also consider it my favorite video game of all time. So you can imagine my surprise when Nintendo announced that they were doing a sequel to this game that's so dear to me.
I can remember the day it happened. Okay, not the exact day, but I can remember details of that day. The most important part of that day, was when I checked Twitter, and saw people talking about "A Link To The Past 2." I thought it was some kind of odd joke, and then a friend of mine game me the details. I was understandably excited, but with that excitement also came a feeling of dread. How would they manage to make this game work? Would it try to hard to be A Link To The Past? Or maybe, would it take too much from A Link To The Past, and not feel like its own game? Could it possibly live up to that game in my own mind? Obviously, I had to wait to get my answer for those questions. And I certainly got those answers. The reason I told you this story was to make the following statement seem all the more important.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, may be my new favorite video game of all time.
That's a very radical statement, of course, but I feel very confident in saying that it is at least a contender. It has a very strong chance of knocking A Link To The Past off of its pedestal in my mind. Let's look at why.
When I first got into the gameplay of A Link Between Worlds, I noticed how nice it felt right away. Sixty frames per second, full three dimensional movement, and a really fast pace to the way Link moved. Then I acquired a sword, and I was in Heaven. I didn't know it before the game released, but it turns out that this is exactly what I wanted a sequel to A Link To The Past to feel like. Fluid, fast, and fun. It's the perfect feeling for a top-down Zelda game.
And speaking of gameplay, there's a big change to the gameplay in A Link Between Worlds that I've seen an astounding amount of praise for - the item rental system. This item rental system is something that I originally thought I would hate. Instead of getting items in dungeons, you now get them from this shopkeeper named Ravio. He charges you around 800 rupees to rent an item, and any time you die, he takes back what he owns and you have to re-rent them. This sounds extremely unnecessary, until you notice that, at a certain point in the game, there are little to no boundaries in where you can go. All but one dungeon is open to you from the moment you reach this point in the game, and it's something that has been unheard of in a Zelda game since the original.
This lack of linearity is something that the more recent Zelda games haven't even attempted, and while I didn't mind how those games progressed, A Link Between Worlds just feels more satisfying. The game gives you no order to do these dungeons in, and I loved theorizing about whether or not that dungeon was supposed to be played near the end of the game. It was also fun seeing what order my friends tackled these dungeons in, and it's something I would love seeing in future Zelda titles.
Moving on to another topic, the visuals in this game are astounding. The art style is a fantastic choice for a top down Zelda game, showing off every little detail they wanted you to see, but still getting across a rather friendly and cartoony vibe. Screenshots and videos don't do it as much justice as seeing it in person, though, especially when you see it in 3D. Trust me when I say that this is possibly the best use of stereoscopic 3D on the 3DS.
The amount of fun I had playing A Link Between Worlds was met with the amount of fun I have talking about A Link Between Worlds. Whether I'm discussing my opinions about the game's features, or talking to friends about where to find those tricky Maiamais, I'm always excited to speak at length about the game. Not a lot of games do this to me. Like any gamer, a love to talk about games I playing, but I don't tend to actively seek out conversations on said games. With A Link Between Worlds, however, I constantly scan Twitter or other social media websites in hopes of finding a friend who has something to say about the game. Even though I have completed the game, I still cannot get enough of it.
As I said above, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds has a very high potential of being my favorite Zelda game of all time, thus making it my favorite video game of all time. I still need to think for a little while about where it stands on my list, but the fact that I'm even considering putting it so high is a testament to the game's brilliance. Everybody who calls themself a fan of video games desperately needs to play this one.